Work in Sports
Shots fired at limousine
Lawyer: Lewis not aware that stabbing had occurred
Posted: Friday February 04, 2000 07:02 PM
ATLANTA (AP) -- An attorney for Ray Lewis said Thursday the Baltimore Ravens' All-Pro linebacker wasn't even aware that two men had been stabbed when he and an entourage left a post-Super Bowl party in a limousine.
Ed Garland described Lewis as "a horrified bystander" but insisted Lewis didn't know about the stabbings until he heard news reports hours later.
"When he left that scene, he did not know a stabbing had taken place," said Garland, who joined Lewis' defense team Wednesday and held a news conference Thursday.
"He did not have a knife, he did not use a knife, he did not engage in a fight, he did not promote in any way a fight," Garland said.
Lewis, 24, is charged with two counts of murder in the slayings early Monday outside a lounge in Atlanta's Buckhead entertainment district. He is being held in jail until a bond hearing, which Garland said is now scheduled for Feb. 14.
Asked if Lewis knows who killed Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth "Shorty" Baker, 21, Garland said: "His vision, his location, what he saw, I will go into at a future time. But he does have some limited knowledge."
The attorney said he is in the process of interviewing the people who were with Lewis as he got into the limousine, a stretched Lincoln Navigator that Lewis had rented in Maryland.
"There were at least eight people who had clustered around or joined his party as he was moving down the street," Garland said, but he declined to identify them.
He said four or five shots were fired at the limousine as it drove away, but he was unaware of any shots fired from inside the car, as witnesses had reported. Lewis knows of no one inside the limousine who had a gun, he said.
Lewis is the only one charged in the case so far, although published reports have said police are looking for two of Lewis' friends for questioning.
Despite his attorneys' insistence that Lewis is innocent, prosecutors say he is still in jeopardy of a possible murder trial even if didn't wield a knife.
A spokesman for the Fulton County district attorney said Wednesday that Lewis can still be tried for murder if he helped the killer or was involved in the fight that preceded the slayings.
"When and if this case goes anywhere, there will be aggravated assault charges added," spokesman Erik Friedly said. "And someone died as result of the assault, so felony murder charges are automatic. It's like the lookout in a bank robbery getting charged with murder if one of the robbers shoots and kills someone."
Fulton County associate medical examiner Dr. John Parker said that whoever fatally stabbed the two men during the brawl "knew what they were doing."
The wounds were directly to major organs, and both men quickly bled to death, Parker said.
"A lot of times in a fight with a knife, we'll see just mayhem, people swinging wildly, abrasions, light cuts, things like that," Parker said. "This wasn't like that. These were well-directed wounds into vital areas."
Lollar was declared dead at the scene by police responding to a fight call in the Buckhead bar district several hours after the Super Bowl ended seven miles away at the Georgia Dome. Baker was dead on arrival at the hospital.
Parker said that Baker suffered wounds to both his liver and heart, while Lollar's wounds were concentrated around his heart.
"A typical pocket knife could do this," Parker said. "Whoever did this knew exactly where to hit and do the damage ... you could say they knew something about anatomy."
Parker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that police had retrieved knives from the limousine but had not yet released the weapons to the medical examiner's office for testing.
Hairdresser Michael Azar told the newspaper he called police after one of his customers spotted a .45-caliber handgun in the yard of his business, which is two blocks from the intersection where the killings occurred.
Shell casings were found near the bodies, but investigators would not confirm whether the casings belong to a .45-caliber gun.
Police have released limousine driver Duane Fossett, according to a spokeswoman for All Stretched Out Limousine Service, which is based in Glen Burnie, Md.
Fossett returned to the Baltimore area Wednesday after being questioned and kept in Atlanta on Monday by investigators, said Lorena Cochran.
She said Fossett was instructed not to speak to anyone about the case, and that the company's owner, Anthony Toskov, accompanied the limousine back to Maryland, but would not be available for comment. No one answered the telephone at Toskov's home.
In Wednesday's editions of The Sun in Baltimore, Toskov said Fossett told him that Lewis did not kill the two men.
Toskov said Lewis rented the limo and left Baltimore with some friends. The group stopped in Charlotte, N.C., to pick up a few more friends en route to Atlanta, where Lewis made several appearances leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl.
Charlotte police said Wednesday that Atlanta police had not contacted them about any possible suspects there.